Joining the growing list of oil and gas industry companies thatenjoyed growth during 2000, AES Corp. reported strong growth in itsfourth quarter and year-end results. The diversified energy companyrecorded net income before a one-time environmental fine of $658million a 189% increase over 1999. Diluted earnings before specialcharges were $1.46 per share compared to $0.62 per share in 1999.

AES said that 2000 was the 14th consecutive year that it hasposted an increase in net income. For the fourth quarter,Virginia-based AES’ net income rose 70%, from $129 million ($0.30per share) to $238 million ($0.46 per share). Dennis W. Bakke, CEOof AES, said, “We had the largest increase in new business in thehistory of AES.”

“This was a record quarter and a record year for AES, continuingto show the strength and diversification of our businesses aroundthe world,” stated Barry J. Sharp, CFO for AES. “We met our growingfinancial expectations despite the difficulties in the Californiamarket (included in AES’s 2000 annual results is a pre-taxoperating loss of $11 million from the company’s generation andretail electricity businesses in California) and the lower thanexpected electricity pool prices in the United Kingdom.Additionally, depreciation of the Brazilian Real during the yearresulted in foreign currency transaction losses of $.05 per sharefor the quarter and $.10 per share for the year. These impacts wereoffset by strong performance at several of our other businesses,particularly those in Venezuela, Brazil and parts of the U.S.”

AES’ stock price fell nearly 6%, yesterday, however, when thecompany’s 1Q projections fell below analysts’ estimates. AESforecasts its earnings per share will be in the range of$1.75-$1.90. Analysts had been expecting $1.91

Another utility, Conectiv posted net income before extraordinarycharges of $181.4 million ($2.10 per share), compared to $185.1million ($1.89 per share) during 1999, an 11% increase in EPS.Delaware-native Conectiv’s net income climbed from $13.2 million($0.19 per share) to $17.5 ($0.20 per share).

Howard E. Cosgrove, CEO of Conectiv, said the improved financialperformance “demonstrates our expertise in the wholesale energymarkets and proves Conectiv’s strategy to optimize our competitivemid merit assets. We achieved measurable earnings growth whileproviding safe, reliable service for all our customers. Ourprofitable and growing mid merit energy business is complemented byour solid power delivery business. Looking ahead, we see ourearnings growth continuing as we develop additional new mid meritplants to meet our region’s growing demand for power. PowerDelivery produced excellent results this year, with 3% higherelectric sales, despite a record cool summer andrestructuring-related rate reductions.”

Alex Steis

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